Mets manager Terry Collins compared watching Yoenis Cespedes taking batting practice to watching a golfer hit drive on the range.
Cespedes transferred that batting practice display to the game on Tuesday night when he connected for three home runs in the first five innings of a 14-4 victory over the Phillies.
Cespedes hit three homers in one game for the second time in his career, also accomplishing the feat against the Rockies on Aug. 21 2015. He was the 13th Met to hit three homers in a game.
The Mets outfielder had two chances to become the 17th player in Major League history to hit four home runs in a game. He lined a double to center field that took one hop off the wall and grounded out to short.
“I thought he was going to hit another one,” said Collins without a hint of sarcasm. “How hard was that double hit? He had a big night and he’s a special player. I’m not surprised at all.”
Cespedes, though, said he wasn’t expecting a fourth home run and didn’t go up to the plate thinking about launching one more into the South Philly night.
“I wasn’t thinking that, you don’t go up there looking for home runs,” said Cespedes.
Cespedes said before his third home run, diminutive veteran third baseman Jose Reyes was joking with him.
“He said, ‘I hit three home runs in one game, anybody can hit two home runs,'” said Cespedes. “Then when I got back to the dugout after the third one he was going crazy.”
Harvey leaves game early
Citizens Bank Park has been a comfortable hitting haven for the Mets the last few years, whether it is because of the cozier dimensions or the rebuilding Phillies pitching staff.
Mets manager Terry Collins acknowledged the short road trip and projected warmer weather were appealing after a slow offensive start at home. Lucas Duda hit two home runs and Asrubal Cabrera and Travis d’Arnuad chipped in with one each as the Mets hit seven home runs overall.
Cespedes had a .154 average with one home run and one RBI heading into Tuesday night’s game.
“The ballpark helps and the weather helps,” agreed Cespedes. .”But I think this is a team that prepares very well and we just had a slow start to the season.”
If he was cold before the game, Cespedes certainly isn’t any more. Asked how he would approach Cespedes when he was seeing the ball as well as he did Tuesday, Mets starter Matt Harvey thought for a moment.
“I’d probably walk him,” said Harvey.
Bill Evans can be reached at [email protected] or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @BEvansSports.
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